An immigration lawyer practices law independently of the U.S. immigration authorities. He or she helps clients handle the wide range of issues that are related to visas, U.S. citizenship, green cards and other things. Since immigration law is federal, people can get an immigration lawyer from any state as well as if they live outside the country.
However, people who just want to visit the U.S. for 90 days or less do not require the help of a lawyer, but the immigration laws are very complicated and constantly changing, and for all other purposes, it may save the applicant time and money to hire a lawyer. Failure to follow the application procedures correctly may result in long delays to process the application.
An experienced immigration lawyer will not only fill out all forms, he or she will also review the specific facts of the client’s case, select the appropriate legal remedies, find any possible pitfalls or liabilities associated with the application and guide the case through the federal agencies.
The main reasons why a person may require a lawyer are:
• Uncertainty about immigration benefits such as a green card or citizenship
• To request asylum or a waiver to get an exception
• To get help for removal or deportation proceedings
• To request to return after deportation
• An immigration application has been denied
• To stay in the U.S. after committing a criminal offence
• A U.S. employer has not assisted in the immigration process
• The application process and forms seems too long and confusing
• An application for an investment-based visa
When a person needs a lawyer to help for immigration, they can start by selecting a lawyer. They may be able to find a good lawyer by word of mouth or by going online to a reputable source that lists lawyers specifically for immigration.
A good lawyer will:
• Prepare all of the forms and applications and explain all of the client’s options including how to get citizenship or a green card
• Explain permanent resident law that is different from being a citizen because the person can still be deported if they break any of these laws
• Help the client get a legal job. If he or she already has a job, the lawyer can help them get the proper visa
• If any personal interviews are required, the lawyer will coach the applicant to properly answer the questions
Schedule an Appointment
After selecting a lawyer, the person should write a letter that explains in detail their situation. After sending the letter, they may call the lawyer to schedule an appointment. The aim of the letter is to give the lawyer an idea of what may be involved with the particular client. The lawyer will need all the necessary evidence to present a strong case for the client. However, if the client has already hired the lawyer, a formal letter may not be necessary. If he or she wants to check on the status of their situation, a phone call or email may be enough. In some cases, the lawyer will request a letter and give a list of questions that need to be answered. The letter need not be in perfect English, but the meaning must be clear.
The first paragraph should state the name of the applicant and the reason for writing the letter. The second paragraph can have any details that may pertain to the case such as the client has been deported, is married to a U.S. citizen or has already studied the naturalization process. If there are any personal problems, they should only be mentioned if they directly relate to immigration. For example, if the person has family in the U.S. or a child who was born in the U.S.
Any relevant names and dates should be included in the letter. These details will help the attorney decide if he or she should take the case. The letter should contain a clear request for the help of the lawyer. It may close with a summary of the main point and should be polite and respectful. If it has a rude tone, the lawyer will most likely decline to help. He or she has no obligation to represent an applicant.
Below is a sample letter to an immigration lawyer. It is a formal business letter and should be sent by certified mail with a return request. The letter should be typed on a computer and printed or written in very legible handwriting. If any documents are enclosed, they should be copies. No original documents should be sent. If the attorney decides not to take on the applicant’s case, the documents may be lost.
Sample Letter to Immigration Lawyer Requesting Services
Name of Applicant
Address of Applicant
City, State, Zip Code or other if outside the U.S.
Name of Lawyer
Address of Lawyer
City, State, Zip Code
Dear Mr/Ms Name of Lawyer:
I am Name of Applicant who is a citizen of COUNTRY OF ORIGIN. I would like to engage your help in immigrating to the United States. I am 29 years old and have been in the U.S. for two months on a visitor visa VISA NUMBER living with my sister NAME OF SISTER who is a naturalized citizen. I have no family in COUNTRY OF ORIGIN and no reason to go back to live there. I have trained as a beautician and could get a job in the U.S. if allowed.
Thank you for considering my case. I hope for a favorable reply soon. For the next month, I can be reached at Phone Number or email address. After that, on DATE, I need to leave the country and can be reached by email only.
Signature of Applicant
Printed Name of Applicant
Enclosed: copy of passport and U.S. visa
By Andre Bradley